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Thursday, August 21, 2014

I'm Finished...Just in Time for Open House!

Finally finished my new 5th grade room. Well, not exactly new; it's the same classroom, just a new grade level. And just in time for our Open House tonight. It was wonderful to meet all my new kiddos and their parents (I think some of the parents were more nervous than the kids). Now I can't wait for Monday! Here are the pictures; you can tell I like green. :)

My birthday banner (a few different options on my TPT store) and behavior chart.

Writing process with the glare from my window and job chart. 7 Habits posters will be added as we get the program up and running.

My door...I love this saying. It was a Pinterest find of course! And the view from my door.

The view from the front.

 My library...super easy book bin labels: black construction paper, silver Sharpie marker, and zebra print duct tape!My reading wall (I love the pom-poms from Michaels)

My book corner with the schedule and objectives.

Math wall...the giant, unused TV should be moved by next week.

It's hard to see, but my reading genre posters from my TPT store are above the Smartboard. I have them in 2 different color schemes. This is the turquoise and lime.
And finally, the view from my desk.  Happy new school year to all!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Time for ANOTHER Switch!

Oh my goodness! I've just been moved from 1st grade to 5th! Don't you love those last minute adjustments? To be fair, I asked my principal last spring to be moved to a different grade level. 7 years with 1st graders is enough. I want to experience all this rewarding job has to offer, and that means working with kiddos of all ages. So now, I need to turn my 1st grade classroom into something a little less cutsie.
 First grade set-up...

 last week...

and I haven't gotten much further. Still waiting on desks and texts to arrive...hopefully they'll be here before school starts! I'll post finished pictures as soon as I'm done :)

Saturday, August 9, 2014

You Oughta Know About...Open House

I'm linking up with Mrs. McClain for her August "You Oughta Know" blog hop. This month the theme is back to's that time again!

My school, like many, hosts an Open House (or Meet the Teacher) night before school begins. After working at a school that didn't offer this for the first 7 years I was there, I really appreciate its importance for helping students (and teachers) get over those first day jitters. 

5 stress-free tips for success:

1. It's okay if your classroom doesn't look perfect (gasp!!!). With too much to look at and experience, things can get pretty chaotic. Scarce bulletin boards and displays give more of a sense of serenity...the chaos can come later!

2. Have all back to school paperwork ready for parents to take home. I put mine in labeled folders at their new seat, so each family can find it easily. This eliminates that headache (for you, parents, and kids) of keeping track of all those forms the first day of school. If time isn't an issue, I ask parents to fill them out right there while their kids are exploring the classroom.

3. Have your volunteer lists ready to go (sorry no picture for this). I write each volunteer activity (holiday parties, daily helpers, field trip chaperones, etc.) on a different color construction paper with columns for names, phone numbers, and email. I tell parents they are required to volunteer on at least one paper. This does not mean they have to attend (work schedules aren't always flexible for families), but that they may be willing to supply something for the event. Every year I have at least one parent who loves to organize, so I leave a spot at the top for a parent to sign up as party coordinator. This way I don't have to worry about planning a Halloween party at the same time I'm planning report cards and parent/teacher conferences, for example.

4. Let students see their names...everywhere! Students want to feel welcome and part of a class. To help out, I put their names on their seats, folders, and on my word wall. If students come to open house that weren't on my original class list, I have them help me add their names (always have extra seats and supplies on hand).

5. Finally, what better way to get them started than with a "survival kit". I put these notes in a sandwich bag with all the goodies listed in the poem (life saver, eraser, penny, bandage, star sticker, tissue, and sticker). Parents and kids love to go home with this little goody, and it takes very little time and money to put together. I have survival kits for kindergarten through third grade. Click on the link to check them out. Survival Kits

All this said, I hope your open house is a success. Have a wonderful school year!